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A soldier stands guard at the state funeral of Mozambique’s opposition leader, Alfonso Dhlakama, in Beira, Mozambique, May 9, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

Persistent Violence in Mozambique Invites Plenty of Theories, but No Clear Answers

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018

In early October, a court in Mozambique began trying 189 people accused of carrying out a spate of grisly attacks, some involving beheadings, in Cabo Delgado province, in the north of the country. The trial, the first of its kind, represents a rare opportunity to gather information on a security threat that continues to confound experts and government officials alike.

Though the violence in Cabo Delgado, which has killed more than 100 people, first began getting serious attention more than a year ago, details about what’s driving it remain elusive. It has been attributed to a group commonly referred to as al-Sunna wa’a Jama’a, a name that roughly translates to “adherents of the prophetic tradition.” But Mozambique, which is 18 percent Muslim, has in recent years been spared the type of Islamist insurgency that has afflicted Somalia and multiple countries in the Sahel, and no convincing theory has emerged to explain why that might change now. ...

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